The global struggles of indigenous communities

Colonialism was a global enterprise.

And around the world today our reporting corps is covering the process of de-colonizing and restorative justice that still unfolds in halting steps from the Native American lands of North Dakota where remains are still being excavated from children who perished in forced boarding schools to Brazilian Amazon where there is a new effort to establishment indigenous territories to protest movements by the Adivasi tribes of India.

Coming off of the United States’ Indigenous People’s Day of October 9 and as we head into a November remembrance and reflection known as Native American Heritage Month , GroundTruth’s Alana Campbell has assembled the latest issue of our “On The Ground” story maps which chart stories from our Report for America and Report for the World corps members.

Their stories are datelined from Arizona to Alaska and from Peru to Norway, covering nearly half a billion indigenous people who belong to 5,000 distinct groups, speaking more than half of the world’s 7,000 languages. Despite their cultural differences, “The global indigenous population shared many of the same struggles: access to ancestral lands, recognition of their rights, marginalization and discrimination, ability to practice their culture and speak their languages, and sovereignty and self-determination,” wrote Campbell.

Many of these struggles trace back to the 15th century when European empires, such as Spain, England, France and Portugal began colonizing many indigenous groups around the world. These colonial empires used war, massacres, forced labor, displacement, environmental destruction, forced assimilation, and the removal of children into residential schools to control indigenous communities and dispossess them from their lands. On those lands they extracted their natural resources, enslaving many into forced labor. Every step of the way, Natives responded with resistance and organized opposition. To this day, indigenous peoples face violence when trying to defend their right to their lands.

These stories are a reminder that, as a society, we need to push for public policies that address the issues that affect the health, economic mobility and cultural freedom of Native communities and hold our governments accountable if they don’t take action.

As we continue our remembrance of the history and culture and centuries of resistance by indigenous peoples from every corner of the world, please take the time to explore the story map and please be sure to share the map and encourage your network to join the newsletter and follow this kind of on-the-ground reporting that GroundTruth is supporting through our flagship programs Report for America and Report for the World.